Police are today hunting a man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in Southampton as she walked home from a nearby shop.

The man approached the girl from behind and attacked her in Butts Road, Sholing .

The sexual assault happened at around 4.10pm as she was walking home from the “One Stop” shop, police said.

The man then made off towards Bursledon Road. The girl managed to run home and raise the alarm.

She described her attacker as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall, between 30 and 40-years-old.

He was of medium build with short ginger or blonde hair and was wearing a black jumper or jacket and dark trousers.

Detective sergeant Andy Hedley appealed for witnessed: “This is a serious incident in a busy area and we feel certain someone must have seen this man.”

He added: “This is clearly a concerning incident but I’d like to reassure the public that we are doing all we can to trace this man.”

Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police said the incident is not being linked to an attempted to snatch a pupil from outside Redbridge School yesterday morning.